Info Blue Mountains Railway Pages
Lithgow - Bowenfels
3 Sisters, Blue Mountains, Australia.
The Blue Mountains conquered

Blue Mountains Australia

920m / 3017ft, 2:43 from Sydney, 2:20 from Parramatta

With the completion of the Lithgow Zig Zag in 1869, the Western railway's terminus moved from Mt Victoria to Bowenfels. The Blue Mountains had been conquered.

Whilst the railway would continue west, ultimately crossing the entire continent, Lithgow proved to be an important destination in itself due to coal & iron ore deposits.

To this day, the region is a major producer of black coal. Some fuels local power stations such as Wallerawang and Mt Piper, much is taken to Sydney and Pt Kembla, by rail, for shipment to overseas.

Since electrification in 1957, much of the traffic over the Blue Mountains has used this form of power. Diesels  have now returned to favour for freight due to their superior power.

NR52_WL-1_Bowenfels_23-2-98_1_300.jpg (28448 bytes) The Indian Pacific, its locomotive painted in an Aboriginal design, makes its way through Bowenfels.

Photo: Railpage

Locomotive depot & turntable at Lithgow. 
20th Century Locomotive Drivers Of Lithgow

Photo: D Martin

A tour of Blue Mountains would not be complete without a look at Lithgow. In particular, be sure to visit:
  • Bowenfels railway station, now restored as a tourist information centre, historic photo gallery & restaurant complete with operational dining car. Designed by John Whitton, it is regarded as one of the finest examples of railway architecture of its day, along with the adjacent station master's cottage.
    Bowenfels & Visitor's Centre   - Lithgow Tourism
  • State Mine Railway Heritage Park - steam railway and museum. Exhibits include coal & shale mining equipment, steam equipment, rolling stock. Located amongst the remains of the steel works.
    State Mine Heritage Park   

Lithgow Tourism Information - external site.


In the 1870's, passenger trains were making the journey from Sydney in 5hrs 45min. In the 1877 trial, the Baldwin U105 did it in 5hrs.

The 1998 timetable gives the following times for weekend services:
  • Countrylink XPT: 2:21
  • Cityrail "The Summit" express: 2:26
  • Cityrail standard: 2:43
What's possible? These are estimates:
  • Talgo pendular train: saving of 5 to 9 minutes
  • Active tilt train: saving of 10 to 18 minutes
  • Track realignment to ease curves: minor to substantial saving.

Passenger services continuing west from Lithgow include the CountryLink's Central West XPT to Bathurst, Orange, Dubbo, and the Indian Pacific trans-continental service to Adelaide and Perth. CountryLink also operate road coaches from Lithgow to numerous locations.

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Copyright 1997-2003, David Martin,  except where other copyright applies.
Company, brand and product names are the property of their respective owners.
Established 1996 - originally "Blue Mountains Plaza".

Blue Mountains, Greater Western Sydney, NSW, Australia

Updated: Grant Robinson — 28 March 2016
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